Restful Time in Pisac

As I finished my bike ride a few days ago, I knew I wanted to come back to Pisac. After spending the weekend in Cusco relaxing and recuperating from the ride, I returned to Pisac this past Sunday afternoon. I took a 2 dollar van ride to arrive at this village an hour out of Cusco. The van ride was an experience in itself as I was packed in there with all the local women heading back home from the market. My backpack and there bags full of goods all tied on the roof. Well worth it for that cheap of a ride!

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On arrival to Pisac, it was about a half hour before sunset, so I started to look for a place to stay. I traveled from hostel to hostel price searching, but wasn’t settling on any. The whole time random local were asking me if I needed a hostel, as I had my backpack on and clearly looked like I had just arrived. I told them all no as I didn’t trust where they would take me . Until, this one guy asked me and I figured I would give it a shot. He said the place was 20 solas a night (which is like 8 dollars), so I said I would like to see the place before saying yes. We hoped on his little moped with backpacks and all. Very comical balancing on this thing as we raced through the streets. He drove a little out of town and stopped at this place called the “La Casa de La Artista” or The Artist’s House. Located right off the river and a little out of town, I knew it would be the perfect place to have a little retreat.

The owner’s name is Jose Victor and he introduced me to his family (Gabriella and their daughter). They live downstairs and there are 4 bedrooms upstairs for guests. His wife told me she is a chef and could cook me anything I wanted. I told her I had wanted to try Cuys (which is pretty much a guinea pig) as Peru is known for this food. Normally in a restaurant, a full one with vegetables would cost 100 soles (which is like almost 38 dollars). She said she would make it for me for 60 (about 20 dollars) for lunch. I was so pumped to try this thing.

My tour and guide and me at the Pisac ruins. Those are terrace farming areas behind me which the Incas used.

My tour and guide and me at the Pisac ruins. Those are terrace farming areas behind me which the Incas used.

After having a wonderful night sleep in my room, I woke up and decided to take a hike to see the Incan ruins above the city. I left at 7:30am and headed up the trail. I reached the top and had the whole place to myself, except for a local guide who had hiked up right behind me. I paid him a few dollars to give me a tour and it was well worth it. I gained a wealth of knowledge about the Incan people through him and was able to connect aspects I had learned with the other guides on my bike-riding trip. One post, I hope to dedicate to just talking about the Incas as their history, intelligence, and culture is fascinating.

After the tour, I asked him if there was a town further up the mountain and he told me there we one. So, I started up towards it and ran into a local woman carrying one of the traditional bags of goods on her back. She asked me if I would help her and in return, would give me some fruit and bread when we got to her village. I jumped at the chance to get something to eat and experience how those locals carry these bags up mountains. The climb took 45 minutes and at an altitude of 12,000 feet, my lungs were puffing pretty hard. Yet, it was well worth it as I got to see her house, the village, and converse with her and neighbors. I also bought a few items from her, which she hand stitched using the wool of an animal like a llama. Now, I have an awesome new camera strap with a great story from this whole experience.

New friends! The lady on the left actually has a baby in that sac. That is how they carry goods or small infants around.

New friends! The lady on the left actually has a baby in that sac. That is how they carry goods or small infants around.

I stayed there about 40 minutes talking with them, taking pictures, and learning about how she knitted her goods and sold them in the markets. Lots of hard work, so I was thankful I was able to buy some goods from her. Part of me wanted to spend the day just hanging out, but I remembered I had lunch in a bit so I started back down. She showed me a different path down and told me to go straight. I headed down and got down in about an hour with some wrong turns that brought me to goat herds or alpaca herds who used those paths.

Finally down, I made it to where I was staying and was able to see how the whole meal was prepared. The cooks mother raises these animals in an organic way and this morning, they took out two for lunch. The clay oven they use is amazing and takes over 2 hours to cook these little animals. Actually, these animals have some of the healthiest meat to eat in the world. No cholesterol and very lean meat. These animals have been eaten since the Inca time and they actually used them to make guinea pig jerky.

The grill master putting in the pappas y cuys. The oven is a clay oven and is massive.

The grill master putting in the pappas y cuys. The oven is a clay oven and is massive.

First serving of food.

First serving of food.

We had a feast for lunch, as I the family at with me. Peru has over 1000 varieties of potatoes and this meal, I tried 4 types of them. One potato, is only harvested during this month, so I was fortunate to taste it. They all have Quechua names (which is the Incan language), so I had a hard time remembering each (as Quechua has zero similarity to Spanish). It was all so delicious! The potatoes, salad, full guinea pig, and chicha morada drink (which is made from a purple corn) made for the best meal in Peru yet. I also enjoyed very much getting to know the family and hear about their knowledge of the Incan culture, life in Pisac, or dreams of their future. We talked for a few hours about politics, life in Texas, sports, and even their view on Spain (as the Spaniards were responsible for destroying the Incan civilization and people). Very sad part of their history and being Cherokee, partially parallels the history of the North American Indians being conquered.

The following day, I had a three hour yoga session with a German yoga teacher a little up the valley. Only 3 in the class, it was a very physically and spiritually intense time. Half yoga and half meditation, I felt so refreshed afterwards. This town is definitely off the beaten path and has a very mother earth (or Pachamama in Quechua) feel to it. I felt very energized, refreshed, and at peace through my time here. I wish I could have stayed longer, but traveled to Bolivia on an overnight bus last night to catch a flight to Sao Paulo Brazil tomorrow. Next trip to Peru, I will leave myself lots of time to explore more and to be able to just see where the journey takes me.

Buenos noches y chao!

-Justin

ps- my flickr photos are up to date so check them out!

Categories: Peru, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Peruvian Mountain Biking

I did not realize how beautiful Peru was before I came here. Yet now, I see Peru as one of the most beautiful, open, free, historical, and unique places to travel. The blend of ecosystems from the Andes and the Amazon rainforest gives this place mountains and landscapes that are incredibly unique. I was able to obtain a glimpse of this fantastic country through mountain biking in the countryside and mountains this past week.

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The trek started in Cusco, which is a middle size city around the south part of Peru. There were two other bikers on the trip, Doug and Peter. All from various life stages, we were able to bond and have a blast experiencing Peru together. Our guides (Ronald and Sieber) were fantastic as well in explaining the history of archeological sites, guiding us through the villages, and giving us tips to improve our mountain biking skills.

The sign reads: Mr. driver- don't run, don't kill, don't die.

The sign reads: Mr. driver- don’t run, don’t kill, don’t die.

We traveled through so many quaint little villages through our travels in the Sacred Valley. The first day, we traveled to Pisac and it was an incredible first place to open my eyes to the beauty of Peru. Lying at the bottom of the Sacred Valley, Pisac was a fabulous village with an amazing artesian market. We shopped in the market, ate a delicious lunch, and headed down the valley to camp for the night. We camped in front of an ancient Incan temple, which was a little creepy at night. Yet the stars where brilliant this night as there was no light pollution! I captured some great shots of the sky for a few hours as I soaked in the whole experience.

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The next day, we woke up to an amazing camp breakfast, which changed my views on cooking while camping. I will never have as delicious of a campfire-cooked breakfast as one of the guides made that morning. We traveled up the mountain and down to Lares valley. This was an intense downhill ride and this day, I learned to have a healthy respect for not smashing down on the disc brakes. Took a few falls to learn… The views were spectacular as we rode through herds of alpacas, llamas, and sheep. A few times, almost hit some of those guys as they darted in front of our bikes as we were riding. Watch out for the alpaca!

This night, we spent in Lares hot springs camping, which was amazing. They are volcanic heated springs that nursed our sore legs and bottoms from riding. Again, the stars were absolutely spectacular to look at. I chose staying up and looking at the stars versus going to sleep; it was a wise choice and well worth it. We woke up the next day and went back over the mountain we had just come from and went down the other side.

This day of riding through the canyons was by far my favorite day. The riding was intense, but thankfully my confidence and skills improved. We raced down this one gorge and stopped many times to take in the views- absolutely stunning. As we were riding down, we saw this local woman walking up while knitting.  It was truly incredible seeing her skills in being able to do both. Made me think back to when this land was the Incas and how that was very common to see.

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Last day of riding down to the salt mines.

We stayed this night in a hotel Urubamba, which was ran by a very earthy local. His garden out back gave the place a very peaceful feel as we winded down for the night. He made the best breakfast the next morning with homemade bread, the best pancake I have ever had, and fresh mango juice. We continued on for our last day of riding which took us to various Incan ruins. We saw Chincheras, the ruin of Maras, and finally the salt mines at Salineras. The downhill riding was some of the most intense yet and made me truly fall in love with Downhill Mountain biking. Great way to end mountain biking.

Later that afternoon, we took a train to the town below Machu Picchu to rest for our ascent up the next morning. We learned there are two ways to get to Machu Picchu: one is to hike the Incan trail and the other is to take a train to the town below. At times I wished I did the hike, but after finding about how commercialized it was with a massive immigration of hundreds of people at a time doing it, I was thrilled with my bike trip. We were alone the whole time while biking and saw some of the most isolated and beautiful places of the Sacred Valley.

Going to Machu Picchu was magnificent. Stunning views, history, and a place that had a great sense of respect. We got there at 6 in the morning to see the sunrise, which was spectacular. So surreal to stand there and imagine what this place would have been like when it was one of the bustling Incan capitals. We then explored the ruins with our guides before climbing up Huayna Picchu (which is the mountain seen in the background of the classic Machu Picchu picture).

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IMG_0568This hike felt like it was straight up the mountain, but was so well worth it as it had the best views of the ruins and surrounding parts. I just could not resist climbing on top of the tallest bolder on the top of the mountain. It was a magical experience as I felt on top of the world in spite of steep drop offs all around.

I feel as if this post touches just bits of this week, but I think pictures speak louder than words. So check out my Flickr account to see the pictures of this week!

Currently spending time in Pisac (the first city I stopped in at the Sacred Valley), and loving it here! I don’t want to leave Peru as I feel as I have just gotten a small taste of the culture, people, and rich history. Yet, as I am uploading this post and the pictures, it takes about 15 minutes per photo, so I don’t have as many as I want. Will upload more to Flickr when I get a chance.

Chao y nos vemos!

-Justin

 

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Just A Glimpse of Doves and Moving North

Just a Glimpse video from my last days with Christ for the City, time in Chile, dove hunting, and last few days back in Cordoba. Hope you enjoy!

Five more weeks to go here in South America, but there is a whole lot of traveling and activities packed into these next 35 days.  Thankfully, I have been blessed to have spent the past few days in La Paz, Bolivia with the Farfan family. It has been so refreshing to spend time with this family! I have been to La Paz once before for my cousin Jordan’s wedding to Bernardo (this is how I met the Farfan family). Last time, my Spanish was very broken, so it was hard to really get know the whole family. Now, it is wonderful being able to converse freely with them without any setbacks from a language barrier.

IMG_1742This has also been a great break after my travels to Chile and back to Cordoba, Argentina for dove hunting. Dove hunting was an absolute blast and the opportunity of a lifetime to do so in Cordoba! Ended up shooting 1,000 doves in 4 hunts. I was very proud of how I improved and was amazed at the amounts of doves there were! Literally covered the skies. Truly the trip of a lifetime as I had the whole outfit to myself, delicious meals, massive king size bed, and all the doves I could ever dream of.

My favorite part of the trip occurred the last morning while I was hunting over a corn field. There was a fog settling over the corn which partially blocked out the sun in front of my vision. I stood with my shotgun and watched as these shadows emerged from the mist. As the birds flew in towards me, they were illuminated against the foggy backdrop and were so clearly visible. My sunglasses added an amber tint to the scene which made me feel like I was in an old western. With my ear plugs in, I could only hear my own breath and felt the peace as the quiet morning settled around me. Many times, I didn’t even want to shoot as I desired to soak up the moment. I would watch the birds fly in and be in awe of what a great blessing it was to be there. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if my dad could have been there as well, as he has an incredible ability to fully soak up the blessing of the moment and pass on this infectious joy to those around. Thankfully, I have experienced this Nirvana many time while fly fishing with him and will get to again when I return home! I hope this massive picture below justifies the scene I was standing in that one morning.

Last morning view over the corn field.

Last morning view over the corn field. The dot above the sun is a dove far off flying towards me.

Marcello (dove guide) and me at La Estancia hunting lodge.

Marcello (dove guide) and me at La Estancia hunting lodge.

After my time dove hunting and one soar shoulder, I spent a few days in Cordoba hanging out with old friends and enjoying the last days of the city. I was able to see the Ricca family again and we had a wonderful lunch the day of my departure. I also went to an american football game of a team my friend Scott Jackson started. I loved watching this sport! Part of my high school football spirit was sparked up and made me want to play agin. Maybe someday I can come back and join the Cordoba American Football league for adults (wish we had these adult leagues in the states).

I spent that night with Scott and his family before he took me to the airport very late in the night. Scott has been a missionary in Cordoba for over a decade, so he has so much experience with this culture and the missionary lifestyle. We were able to get together a few times during my time in Cordoba and they were so enriching for me every time. For muster or a birthday cookout, he was a great friend and mentor to have in Cordoba. We actually got in touch as he was the old youth leader for the Bible study I was apart of in high school. He just left to Cordoba before I joined and my friends in there always talked so highly of him. I now know why as he is an amazing man of the faith. He and his family will be in my prayers often!

Now in La Paz, I am continuing my journey and in 2 days, will head to Cusco, Peru to start a bike ride up and around Machu Picchu. So excited for this trip, but going to soak up my time here in Bolivia. Will post before my bike trip about my time in Bolivia (which will probably be in the hostel the night before my bike trip). Till then, hope you enjoyed this post and thank you always for your thoughts and prayers!

Dios te bendiga!

-Justin

ps- check out my instagram and flickr photos to see more pictures!

Categories: Argentina, Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chilean Travels

IMG_1686Flying over the Andes and it is absolutely beautiful. So raw and untouched by man. No ski resorts have conquered these mountains as the jagged mountain faces shoot up out of the ground serving as a memory of the explosive power of when the Lord breathed the world into being. Tall giants indestructible and unconquerable. True wilderness serving as the border between Chile and Argentina. Two cultures so close in proximity, yet vastly different; possibly due to the impassible barrier of the Andes mountains.

When I return to South America, I will come back to Chile first; such a warm, welcoming, and loving culture. So thankful for the short time I was able to spend there and I wish I had more time. Still, I became greatly inspired and my eyes were opened to the rich culture and history of Chile. My taste of Chile was being able to see the seaports on the coast in San Antonio and Varispo, visit Isla Negra, learn some local slang, listen to the natives about the birth of their nation and culture, and enjoy furthering relationships with my friends there.

Harbor with some local sea lions.

Harbor at San Antonio with some local sea lions.

My friends were extremely welcoming and made me feel a part of their family. On Friday, we packed into Oscar’s car and headed to the coast. The 1.5 hour drive flew by as we chatted and exchanged aspects of our cultures. On arrival, we went to have shrimp and cheese empanadas while looking at the sea lions in the harbor. It was a beautiful little harbor as we saw the massive cargo ships bringing good from China contrasted with rusty little fishing boats bringing fresh fish from the cold Pacific. I enjoyed breathing in the salty air as I took in this whole experience. After, we traveled to Isla Negra and learned all about the life and romantic poetry of Pablo Neruda. Poet, foreign diplomat, world traveler, and romanticist- this man left an inspiring legacy to live life to the fullest. I bought a book of his poems and have enjoyed reading his work and learning more Spanish while doing so.

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View from Pablo Nerudas house.

For lunch, we ate the freshest Chilean salmon with a local handcrafted beer in San Francisco. This meal was full of laughter as my friends and I enjoyed each other’s company during the trip to the coast last Friday. We visited three different beaches, collected seashells, and had a car ride dance party with a mixture of kumbya and reggaetone.  It was such a fun filled day and I am so thankful they took me along with them on this trip.

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Great salmon with a handcrafted local beer. Delicious!

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I loved getting to know Chile through true natives who could give me the truest perspective of the Chilean culture. They had lived through the different eras or had family members who did. They understood what it was like to be in a terrible earthquake and educated me on the procedures to follow in case one happens. This included flashlights on night stands, no closed doors to allow easier exit, and no joke policy about the “terremotos” or earthquakes. They told me about one minor one per month occurs and a major one every other year. They definitely enjoyed trying to scare me, but I was ready incase one were to occur.

IMG_1757My favorite times to learn more about their culture was over meals where we exchanged experiences, stories, and cultural differences. For example, they thought it odd that I did not have two last names (as it is normal for the children to have names of the father and mother). I thought it odd they had two last names. Yet, neither was odd just different. The Chilean history sheds light onto this as through the independence from Spain, the men fell to alcoholism at times and so the woman gained power in the family. Women are very independent as they work, take care of the family, and are generally more responsible than the men. Not all men or women are like this, but the two last names arose from their history. I also found it interesting how different the north and south cultures were different. They showed me music from the areas, told me various folklore stories, and cooked me different foods from the areas. We all laughed and had a great time over every meal getting to know more about where each other comes from.

It is ironic how Argentina and Chile are so close, yet very different culturally. This may be due to the grand Andes in between the two dividing them by land and by cultural boundaries. Words they use, food they eat, and their general demeanor is slightly different.  For example, in Argentina, one says “Che” when calling someone dude. In Chile, it is “Po”. They also say “Catchii” for “Catch that” quiet frequently. It loved getting to hear and see these differences.

Although my time there was relatively short, I had an absolute blast and desire to return one day. Although their capital city of Santiago is so well developed, there are many rural places that could use some healthcare. I would like to return one day to visit these people and deliver some health care to them. Until that time, I have some great memories about Chile!

The Chilean flag is very similar to Texas. This one is the largest Chile out front of La Moneda (a gathering place for political parties).

The Chilean flag is very similar to Texas. This one is the largest Chile out front of La Moneda (a gathering place for political parties).

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Chao Cordoba!

Heading out of Cordoba to Santiago Chile! The past few days have been so uplifting as I reflected back on my time here as well as sad turning the page to the next plan God has for me. Last night, I had a conversation with Diego about missing friends here and moving on. He had great advice to give and told me to not worry, as there comes a time to move on so we can grow. He could not be more correct as we have to move on in order to grow. If not, we would all be complacent and never continue to rely on the Lord for His provision. 

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Me and my great friend Julio during my last night on the street. He has grown tremendously and has started to come to church! Praise God!

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Selfie with the team on my last night at the street!

So many great memories that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Christ for the City had a huge impact on my heart and I know He will continue to teach me lessons from this experience. The trip may have ended with this stage, but the relationships don’t have to. I look forward to continue growing friendships that were started during this phase!

Here is a video from one of my last nights in Cordoba. Absolutely beautiful sunset!

Well, I have to go as I quickly wrote this post during my stay in the airport in route to Santiago. I will be there for 5 days with the Alcance Urbano team over there. After, I will return back to Argentina to do some world class dove hunting and relax for a few days. I hope to post in updates while in Chile as well. No matter where I am, I can and will be a light for HIM!

God Bless!

-Justin

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Last Few Days with Christ for the City

As I reflect on the past 10 weeks, the time truly did fly by! I feel as if I have just gotten adjusted to the late dinners, relaxed pace of life, and the “Cordobeis” style of speaking Spanish. Yet, in five days, I will be moving on Chile. My time here has been a great blessing to my life in growing in my walk with the Lord, being humbled and making life long friends with the Ricca family and the CPCI team.

IMG_1345I am excited for the next stages of my trip, but going to miss this one. From being called “Tio Jusitn” by little Pedro or being introduced at church as a “hijo” or son to Graciela, it has truly been such a great blessing. Looking forward with this cultural experience, it makes me cherish and love my family at home even more! I see how close and welcoming this family is, and I want to pursue the same thing with my Cardenas and LeMaster (mom’s side) family. With 8 weeks left in South America and a few days left in Cordoba with Christ for the City, I am going to soak up this time and enjoy every minute of it. Last night, we had a get together to watch a futbol game and boxing match. Today, we have church and an asado for my going away after. I also made my favorite walk again to search for bread, milk, and cheese on a Sunday. Took five stores to find them, but it was a beautiful day to visit the different “tiendas” in search for lunch food.

Yesterday was my last day at the Galpones, the underserved area of town. I am going to miss those children a whole lot. Some may be hard to deal with at times, but all need to just be loved with the love Jesus can provide. I feel hopeless at times when I see their situations, but Jesus can bring them out of it! This faith can be hard to have, but He is above my lack of faith and has raised my spirits to believe in change. So many great memories of playing soccer, drawing, and getting to hold the kids and just love them. After my time with them, I think I could be a pediatrician and work with kids as a doctor, as it has been such a joy to do so here!

On Thursday, I will head to Chile for 5 days and spend time with friends in Santiago. After, I will return to Cordoba for a few days to do some dove hunting, as it is the best in the world. So excited to go to a dove ranch and do some good ol’ Texas hunting!

IMG_1346Thank you all for your prayers and support throughout this trip. Don’t forget to check out the video from the past few days (at the top of the page).

Chao and nos vemos!

-Justin

ps- I highly dislike Justin Beiber even more so after being here, as everyone associates my name with his. I am okay with Justin Timberlake, so I point them towards that method. No problems with my Hispanic last name :)

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Video Project

Hello friends and family!

I am excited to let you all know that the video I’ve been working on for Christ for the City Argentina is finished! Check it out below and I hope you are inspired by it!

In other news, German has left for the states, so it was the last time I will see him for a while. Although it was sad to part ways, I am so thankful for his friendship and the time we shared together. He has a huge heart for the Lord and his life reflects that. I am excited to see him again soon (in this life or the one to come).

Me and Scott Jackson during our Muster here in Cordoba.

Scott Jackson and I during our Muster here in Cordoba.

This week, Texas A&M had Muster’s all around the world. Here in Cordoba, me and Scott Jackson ’99 had our very own Muster celebration. I cherished getting to catch up and talk about A&M and the Aggie Spirit. Very refreshing to have had this time!

The past few days I have been sick with a sinus infection, but am improving with rest, herbal tea, and this medication called “Qura Plus”. Pastor Ruben gave it to me and it is doing wonders! I wish we had this Qura Plus in the States.. I may have to bring some back.

As my time here is winding down in Cordoba with Christ for the City, 2 weeks left, I am in a state of great reflection. Life has been so simple and relaxed here, very refreshing. The people I have met have been great blessings as my friend group here is a supportive group of strong Christians. Life long friends in whom we can keep up wherever life takes us. Also, the Ricca family has been so special to live with. They are such a close family and so welcoming of me. I am greatly thankful for them and the countless delicious dinners, in depth conversations, and exchanging of cultural practices.

Pastor Ruben and I after Easter Church service.

Pastor Ruben and I after Easter Church service.

This past Easter service was fantastic at my church here! This church has such a radical and passionate way of worship the Lord, which is highly energizing. One of my friends, Alejandro, asked me to edit a video for him. I worked on it last week, while thinking it would be shown at youth group. Then on Sunday, they showed it on Easter in front of the whole church! The video ended and they finished acting it out in real life. It was a fantastic service and an Easter, or Dia de Pascuas here, to remember.

One of the best friendships I have had has been with Pastor Ruben (the head of the house I live in). He devotes so much time to pursuing the Lord and encouraging people in the church to do the same. He stays up late in the night discipling others or learning about the Lord. He has a contagious personality full of joy, joking around, and a strong spirit. He will be visiting Dallas in September and I look forward to seeing him over that visit! I highly respect this man and am thankful for his hospitality and being able to learn from him every Sunday and every day living at his house.

Tonight is the second to last Friday Street Ministry I have here, so I am excited to make the most of it! This is one of my favorite nights as I get to just spend time with the homeless here and love on them.

Besos y abrazos!

-Justin

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Easter Weekend Reflections

I feel as if I just arrived Cordoba, but it has already been 8 weeks! Between learning Spanish, serving with Christ for the City, and enjoying the Argentinean culture, time has truly flown by. The relationships I have met here will last me a lifetime and I am going to soak up the rest of the time I have with these friends! Late night dinners, futbol games, and daily adventures through the city have grown relationships with many friends here. My Cordobian family (the Riccas) have been so hospitable and make me feel so welcome in their family. Thankful for them everyday!

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Out of the many lessons I have learned this trip, humbly serving has been the greatest thus far. A verse that has been a reminder of Christ’s attitude on service is Matthew 20:26-28 “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many”. Summed up, leaders are servants and to be first, one must become a slave. This seems like a paradox at first, but Christ proved the opposite. In John 13, Jesus served humbly in washing his disciples feet. Back then, I doubt they had nice Nike shoes with footies to cover their feet and protect them from the muddy and rough terrain. Not the case with the disciples. Their feet were more than likely terribly smelly, filthy with dirt and grime, and overall the dirtiest part of the body. They traversed all over with some worn sandals through mud and waste. Yet, Jesus (the king of the universe) decided to wash His disciples feet. He served them to be an example on how to serve and states in John 13:15 “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” His raw and simple display of service is an example I have tried to pursue during my time here and desire to do so for my life.

Serving is the key to leadership; no one did this better than Christ. He made the ultimate sacrifice in humbling himself to human form, taking all of our sins onto his blameless soul, and paying the price in full for all of them. He was rejected, despised, and deserted by all for our sake; the very one’s whose sin had put him on the cross. This level of service (in pursuing service and slavery rather than leadership or winning) is humility. What great humility he showed in the greatest act mankind has ever seen! He set an example for us all to follow and pursue. Christ’s example and words give me strength as I wash dishes, clean up yards, or love on people whom the world has rejected. In doing this with humility, I desire to keep acts of service between me and the Lord so as to not fall into a prideful attitude of service. I have been humbled through many interactions and have thanked the Lord for every one of them as I need to be humbled every day.

Thankful for Christ’s sacrifice 2000 years ago so I can live this life with the hope and promise of a perfect life to come! He is the definition of a servant leader in his sacrifice on the cross. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”(2 Corinthians 5:21). That is the greatest act of service, act of love, and story that has ever been.

 

To close, here is a video from the past 2 weeks to show you a glimpse from my days here in Cordoba! Enjoy!

Just a Glimpse Part 4 from Justin Cardenas on Vimeo.

Categories: Argentina, Jesus, Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Just a Glimpse and Updates

Here is the video from weeks 4-6. I made the clips a little longer so one could get a better grasp of the shot. Hope you like it! Read after for a short post about life here the past few weeks!


Cordoba has been wonderful the past few weeks as I have been improving my Spanish, cherishing time with my Argentinian family, and soaking up the whole experience. Every day looks different as the ministry is evolving and adapting to new projects and people. About a month ago, a new missionary came to Cordoba from Colombia and his name is Diego. Diego and I have become great friends as we both live in the same house and generally have the same schedule. He makes me laugh so much with his little dichos (sayings) and overall humor. He is studying to be a dentist and we have talked about one day doing missions together in the Amazon area! Who knows what the Lord has for our friendship, but I know we will be life long friends.

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Diego and Me hanging out after dinner

Every day looks different here, but the typical day is as follows. Wake up around 9am, have some breakfast (bread that is called criollo with a carmel-like substance called dulce de leche) and a cup of coffee. Thankfully, the Ricca family loves coffee as much as I do! I normally read, write in my journal, and spend time praying the hour that follows. Then, me and Diego will head to the office down town (which is about a 30-50 minute trip depending on if you get the bus at the right time). There, we work on anything from PR work, planning, cleaning, and brainstorming ideas to further CPCI. Currently, I am working on a fundraising video and have loved having the time to film and edit!

We may come back to our house for lunch or stay at the office, depending on the work. Afternoon work depends on what needs to be done, but I am always looking to go on an afternoon run to the nearby park while listening to a podcast. These have been some of the most relaxing times for me! Nights also vary, but we have plans Wednesday-Sunday night normally. They include “Street Ministry” which is a time to fellowship and feed the homeless people in Cordoba. I look forward to these reunions every week, as I am humbled through my interactions with them. Being friends with them and respecting them is one of the best ways to share Christ’s love with them. They are no different from me, just have had some unfortunate life circumstances that have put them on the street. Even if their sin put them there, I could easily be in their shoes had the Lord not graced me with knowing Him and saving me. He is the only reason I have the life I do (shelter, food, and security), so I have learned not to take pride in anything of me or what I have done. Such a humbling and rich experience to have spent so many great nights with my homeless friends enjoying some coffee and talking about faith.

Time has flown by here and I will make a greater effort to frequent more to this blog and write about the experiences down here and what the Lord is teaching me! Look for a post at the end of the week with more photos and stories (didn’t want to overload this one).

Chao!

-Justin

Categories: Argentina, Jesus, Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just a Glimpse – Part 2

Here is the video I just uploaded of short clips over the past 2 weeks! Also, click on my “Flickr Photo Stream” link on the title bar to see pictures from my trip. I will upload them there frequently, so check my Flickr out if you would like to see. Hope you enjoy the video!

Filmed with my IPhone, this video captures a few moments from every day to share with friends and family from my time in Argentina. Each clip was filmed and chosen for a reason, so I hope you enjoy!

Categories: Argentina, Travel, Video | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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